I recently attended a course on digital communications and the Code organised through the PM Society.

The course focussed on the various digital channels that we use for our media brands, and guidance around social media – which is still very much a grey area. We use our social media communities to grow engagement, promote events, magazine, and also provide some light entertainment – a much needed resource for hard-working healthcare professionals.

However, it’s relatively easy for us to foray into social media as a publisher. If you are in a regulated industry it proves more of a challenge; you need to join the party but the bouncers won’t let you in.

If you are at that point where you want to know why and how you could do it, here’s a few points consider:

What benefits can social media bring to a regulated industry?

• You can control your messages and provide facts from an official source

• Highlight corporate initiatives and news stories

• Create a place for media to retrieve information instantly

• Drive disease awareness campaigns and support for patients

• Drive site traffic and community engagement

When social media can be a problem for a regulated industry?

• It’s fast – often when you don’t want it be. Who remembers the tweet about Queen Elizabeth dying last year? Although swiftly deleted – it’s still out there…

• It’s very difficult to safely use it for prescription only medications as the usual Code guidelines apply – Unless a closed group and pre-qualified, you cannot guarantee a UK only audience, they didn’t opt-in to hear about promotional information from a pharmaceutical company, and so on

• By opening it as a channel, means you also need to monitor closely for adverse event reporting

But when it’s done right, it’s an unparalleled tool in driving awareness.


Useful links

The Prescription Medicines Code of Practice Authority (PCMPA) has produced guidance on digital communications, which can be located here.

PriMe Training from the Pharmaceutical Society